’11 starts with 3 saying goodbye: Velouria, Gruv shut down as Maharaja trucked off Capitol Hill

Apparently, neighborhood business passings also come in threes. The New Year begins on Capitol Hill with two retailers and a restaurant closing shop. The unifying theme beyond the timing of their closures: The owners of Velouria, Gruv and the Maharaja plan to continue doing business elsewhere in the city with two of the owners saying publicly that high Capitol Hill rents have forced them to move on.

Broadway’s Gruv and the Melrose Market’s Velouria are both sister businesses to other shops in the city — and both siblings will continue to operate, according to their owners. Velouria’s Tes De Luna tells CHS the rent was just too high and the Hill’s response to her offerings too tepid to continue in the Melrose Market:

Really the rent was just too high for the current economy and while we made some really great regulars just not enough support in the hood for us.  Sad, but hopefully in a couple years when the economy is better and sales meet the rent they charge we can try again up there.

We found it hard to get the community up there to come to our events…  Just not the right timing:(

Velouria opened alongside the new home for Sonic Boom Capitol Hill in late 2009. De Luna is married to Sonic Boom’s Jason Hughes. Boom, which also operates a sibling store in Ballard, appears to be staying put in the Market, for now.

More on the closure in the note posted on the papered windows of Velouria’s former home:

Thanks to Noelle153 for telling us about Velouria closing shop.

Below, another posted goodbye note. The letter is all we know about Gruv’s shutdown. Owner Joanna Gentili has not responded to our inquiries about what lead to the decision to close the used music and movie retailer but the note does say she will continue to operate her Swerve store in the Pike Place Market:

We’ll update if we hear back from Gentili. Thanks to Leedale for the initial post on Gruv’s closure.

Meanwhile, completing the trio, the former Maharaja was already being gutted Tuesday after Friday’s abrupt last call. We’re told the Maharaja will rise again in Pioneer Square, another Capitol Hill business forced to move along to start the New Year because of rising rents. We reported on rumors of a nightclub taking over the Maharaja space on East Pike last January. We’ll watch to see how these spaces are filled as 2011 progresses.

The Maharaja’s insides ready to be trucked away

  • Velouria, 1521 Melrose Ave
  • Gruv, 424 Broadway East
  • Maharaja, 720 East Pike
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13 thoughts on “’11 starts with 3 saying goodbye: Velouria, Gruv shut down as Maharaja trucked off Capitol Hill

  1. i actually stopped in there a few times during the time they were in the market and from a menswear perspective, can see why they didn’t do my business.

    their prices were high for what they were offering (understandable if they have high rents) but their stock never rotated. it was always the same few styles in the same few sizes every time i went in. and speaking of sizes, for a store on the hill, she should have tried carrying more smalls and mediums and less large and extra large clothing. as it was, there were a couple of things i would have purchased had they carried them in my size or even offered to order something in my size; which they didn’t.

    i like the concept but the execution, in my personal opinion, is where they needed to make some improvement. hopefully they’ll have better luck next time they come to the hill.

  2. I tried to shop at Velouria, wanting to support non-food retail on the hill but found it impossible. The demographic on Cap Hill is different than Ballard and the shop wasn’t upscale enough for the MM clientele and too funky “Ballardy” for Cap Hill hipsters.

  3. There is already a Maharaja in Pioneer Square that is a lunch buffet & restaurant but I don’t recall it having a bar like the Capitol Hill location.

  4. Fyi- Gruv’s shut down is temporary. It was purchased by one of the employees and will be reopened in the exact same spot with the same name (or similar). I hear they are planning some crazy upgrades too. I heard rumor of a small theater opening in their upper loft space (which in now an office).

  5. I heard from a good source that the entire above post about Gruv re-opening in that manner is 100% speculation.
    It saddens me that it has closed and I will surely miss this fixture of Capitol Hill.

  6. taylor shellfish farms via “all you can eat” blog (scroll to the end of the article).

    a shellfish store? i’m not sure i’d give them heavy odds to be in that spot a year from now. doesn’t/didn’t bar ferd’nand sell oysters, clams and other shellfish? i don’t know that the hill, especially i5 shores, really has a need. unless they also plan to sell fin fish too.

    now, a fresh fish shop? that’s likely to be a big draw for business.

  7. I love Velouria and was so excited when they opened on Capitol Hill, so now I’m super sad to see it go. Just wanted to say so since there are a couple comments that aren’t as sad. It was awesome to be able to say to my bf that “whenever there’s a gift-giving occasion, feel free to get anything at Velouria.” Alas, now he’ll have to go all the way to Ballard for my birthday next time. :)

    But I also love shellfish so that could be cool too!

  8. I’ve seen the paperwork. It’s not 100% yet but it’s 99% going to happen. I’m willing to bet my source, the owner, is quite a bit more knowledgeable than yours.


  9. I had a similar experience to zeebeloop @ Velouria, but from the opposite end of the size spectrum. Asked (politely!) if they ever carried any plus sizes and got a pretty cold, resounding NO as an answer. Too bad, because it’s indie boutiques like this that often CAN do that for you. Also frustrating because the owner is not a particularly small girl herself – not fat, but probably can’t fit into a lot of clothes she sells there herself. Crazy, depressing stuff…